Accessible Healthcare Services for People with Disabilities

Through the coming together of the Communities of Service, encouraged by CHCM’s Optimization Project, St.Amant and Centre de santé Saint-Boniface have joined forces to develop a process to guarantee comprehensive health care services to everyone. This includes adults with developmental disabilities that might ordinarily hinder their access to health assessments, such as mobility issues and/or communication and behaviour..

Michelle Savard (left), chair of the Centre de santé Saint-Boniface board in
2017-2018, and Monique Constant, CEO.

Monique Constant, Executive Director of Centre de santé Saint-Boniface, explains that “Centre de santé Saint-Boniface has identified five priority populations that we aim to serve better, including persons living with a disability. That’s why we have built a solid relationship with St.Amant, an organization working closely with that population.

“With their help, we can provide screening services for comprehensive primary health care in an accessible and fully equipped clinical environment.” Housed in Centre Accès-Access Saint-Boniface, the comprehensive health service opened its doors on June 8, 2018, and sees patients on Wednesday afternoons. The clinic’s secret is its collaborative approach. It is led by a nurse practitioner from Centre de santé with the support of a developmental disability nurse consultant from St.Amant’s community nursing service. Together, these two healthcare professionals have the tools to take each patient through a comprehensive, empowering and meaningful healthcare assessment.

“It is critical for everyone to have access to comprehensive health care,” says Alice Sayant, 2017 – 2018 Board Chair at St.Amant.

St.Amant’s team from left to right : President-CEO John Leggat, St.Amant Foundation CEO Juliette Mucha, vice-chair in 2017-2018 Francine Deroche, and chair of the board in 2017-2018 Alice Sayant.

“This partnership with Centre de santé Saint-Boniface allows us to address unmet needs at St.Amant: those of adults with a developmental disability limiting their access to comprehensive healthcare services. We are very proud of this initiative.” The appointments are scheduled to last one hour and may only be made through a referral from a family doctor or community social worker. Once the referral to the clinic has been made by a healthcare professional or social worker, the nurse establishes initial contact with the person, which may include a home visit, to identify the best way to effectively conduct a comprehensive primary health care screening based on that person’s disability or disabilities.

This contact will help prepare the person’s visit to the clinic, aimed at having them participate as fully as possible in the assessment. If a clinic visit is not possible for the individual, the nurse will help find other options in order to provide comprehensive health care services of the same quality.

The assessment information and findings will then be shared with the individual and his or her primary healthcare provider. “This comprehensive health service was made possible through a grant from the Winnipeg Foundation,” says Francine Deroche, 2017-2018 Vice-Chair at St.Amant. The pilot project will run for two years.